If you're like many people, you may want to be free of past offenses, but you still carry bitter memories of or hard feelings toward those who have wronged you. Take comfort: Forgiving even the worst offenses against you is not impossible. You can find freedom from the past and peace that comes from God by learning to really forgive from the heart.
Forgiveness is easier to grasp when broken into a five-step process.
Admit the Pain
Offenses always cause pain; our pride makes us deny it. Some take an attitude, "Who cares? You're insignificant in my life. You can't hurt me!" This insulates us from the acute pain of the moment, but it allows the infectious agent of resentment, like toxic bacteria, to enter our soul where it festers, creating a spiritual disease of bitterness. Such a condition gradually estranges us from others and even from God.
Denying pain keeps us from starting on the path to forgiveness. But the degree of pain required in this exercise is bearable. Honestly experiencing it long enough to understand the exact nature of the offense is actually the beginning of healing.
Work Through Confused Feelings
When an offense has occurred, we often need to clearly and carefully sort out responsibilities in a particular incident. As children, we believe the world revolves around...
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